Born of God
February 26th, 2023

9 No one who has been born of God practices sin, because His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin continually, because he has been born of God.

No one who has been born of God practices sin,

Literally “Everyone who has been born from God does not sin.”  John is saying that habitual sin is inconsistent with a Christian’s walk. Is John saying that the believer never sins? No. John makes it very clear in 1:8–10 that no believer can at any time claim an absence of sin in their life. That is why God provides cleansing from all unrighteousness for the one who confesses known sins (1st John 1:9 1 john 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God is faithful and Just in forgiving our sins. The emphasis here is on the results of being born of God—i.e., the ability NOT to sin.  We have the Potential to be Sinless in Christ.  But we, along with Paul, and all other believers, we come up short in walking out that sinless life.  The Gift of God of eternal life and being a New Creation, as His adopted Children is perfect. 1 John 3:1a See how great a love the Father has given us, that we would be called children of God; and in fact we are. There is no question of the person’s status as a child of God. The question is in how much we are going to walk this out in our lives! 

The children of God obey Him and live in freedom from habitual sin. We can do this because Jesus has set us free from the slavery of sin John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed—free NOT to sin.  

Romans 6:1–23 goes even further in this idea of a slave and his master. As Christians we aren’t to continue in habitual sin because we died to sin. Romans 6:4 says that since we have been buried and resurrected with Christ we are now able to walk in that newness of life, unlike the unbeliever who is still a slave to sin. Romans 6:6 goes on to say that, since we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that our body of sin might be done away with, we should no longer be slaves to sin. And Romans 6:11 says that we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

We are commanded by God to not let sin reign in our bodies, obeying its lusts, but instead we are to present ourselves to Him as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:12–14). In Romans 6:16-18 we’re told that we are slaves to the one we obey, either of obedience to sin or of obedience to righteousness. We are to be enslaved to God from whom we receive our gifts of sanctification and eternal life. We do this because (Rom 6:23) the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Since we have been Born of God, born again, we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us NOT to sin.  This is the focus of what John says next. He answers the question of how this is made possible. It is by a spiritual birth and a new parentage.

because His seed remains in him;

The one born of God does not sin “because His seed abides in him.” This seed, abiding in the believer is both permanent, and a continuous influencer of our lives as believers.  This seed is from God, and impacts our life with the character of God, transforming us into the image of His Son Jesus. 

This seed only influences for good, because we know from James 1:13b for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  This sounds to me like this Seed is referring to the Holy Spirit.  When we are born again, we are fundamentally, a new creation.  Jesus said in John 3:5-6 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. The Holy Spirit is a continuous witness to us that we are His 1 John 4:24  24 The one who keeps His commandments remains in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He remains in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us or 1 John 4:13 13 By this we know that we remain in Him and He in us, because He has given to us of His Spirit.   So, we know that we remain in Christ, are His by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Sin does not reside in the inward man, the Spirit, because this spirit has been born of God.  Sin does not reside in the inward man, the Spirit, because this spirit has been born of God—that’s why Paul says in Rom 7:16 However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. 17 But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.  It’s not the flesh that has been redeemed, for there is no redeeming the flesh, it must be crucified, put to death.  Gal 5:24  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Rom 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,.  So, it’s very clear that the flesh is sinful, and cannot please God, nor be redeemed in any way.  And, so this seed, that John refers to is our New Spiritual Nature, born of God, who is Spirit, connected to God who is Spirit, by the Holy Spirit, who is God.  And it is not where sin resides, because our New Spiritual Nature, our New Man, our New Nature is from God.  So, John is essentially saying that “everyone who has been born of God” does not sin because, as our new Nature is from God, adopted as Children by God, as His spiritual offspring, we abide in God, as believersGod’s children do not sin because we are born of God.”  So to the extent that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and walk by the Spirit, and not the Flesh, we do not sin.  So, John is talking about represents the divine nature the new nature that believers receive at regeneration 1 Peter 1:4 4 Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world on account of lust. 

And, so the Seed, as John uses it here, consciously calls us back to the Word of God.  John 15:7 7 If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.   And again in John 15:10 10 If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.  The young men of his congregation are commended precisely because as 1st John 3:14b says I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 

“and it is not able to sin.”

And, so, it is in this context of God’s work in the deepest part of us, the Spirit, and in the context of the Work of God’s Spirit within us in sanctifying us and illuminating God’s Word, Jesus to us that John makes his boldest statement yet, that those who are abiding with Jesus in cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives are not able to sin.  And to the extent that we do sin, as John affirms, we’re not walking in the newness of life that we’ve been given.  The ideas of divine sonship and sin are mutually exclusive—sinful acts are the expression of the imperfectness of our walk.  And, as we confess our sins, and rely on the faithfulness of Christ to act as our Advocate before the father, forgiving our sins, we allow ourselves to be sanctified, set apart for service.  As Eph 5:26 puts it 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.   So, John is affirming that the new nature, from God does not participate in sin.

The root of sin our  “old fallen nature”.   Habitual sin is an inconsistency in the life of a Christian, and is unchristian, and although it’s possible, it’s also very dangerous.  Letting sin penetrate down, by habitual accommodation, deeper and deeper into the core of our being means that a Christian, by being UnChristian, can reach the place where they’re no longer Christian, and become apostate, and fall away.  Then, they find that they no longer believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and some never come back.  Worse than that, some get to the point where God stops dealing with them, and they CAN NEVER come back. It’s a very scary thing.  But, the old nature, being fallen, naturally and consistently rebels against God. That’s why we’re warned over and over again to guard our hearts.  Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.   And to keep God’s Word stored there, as a protection against sin Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  And let the Lord examine our hearts as in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  The Lord examines the Heart, and, according to Jesus in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  So, when someone sins, it is the person sinning under the influence of their old nature, and causing damage to themselves, and to their relationship with God, and those around them. When a believer sins, he or she is acting out of the old nature and being consistent with it.It is the new nature that motivates the believer to obey God, though once again it is the person, not his or her nature, who is doing the obeying.

because he has been born of God.

The extent of absence of sin in our lives results from the Spiritual Birth, and our cooperation with the Holy Spirit in allowing Him to conform us to the image of Jesus. Our spiritual birth had a beginning point, but the effect of it continues on in our lives.  The person remains a child of God, and His seed remains in us.

Therefore, Cannot Sin Continually

Why not?  Why can’t those who have been born of God sin continually?  Because for a Christian, the struggle is AGAINST the flesh, by the power of the Spirit.  We are no longer allied with the flesh against God.  We have changed sides.  But, we still have this flesh, with it’s problems, hurts, habits and hangups.  And that means that we have a struggle going on inside us, the Spirit against the flesh.  We see this struggle with the flesh carefully depicted by Paul in Rom 7:14-15 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  

Just as our Salvation was a work of God through Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit, we have this same resurrection power of the Holy Spirit within us, who can achieve are sanctification.  We just have to cooperate with the process, and obey out of love for Jesus, and faith in Him, that He can accomplish victory over sin, where we have failed so many times!

Who’s Son Are You?
February 19th, 2023

John 3:8

8 the one who practices sin

Literally, the text is “he who does sin is from the devil.”, and again, the implication is of continuous action, or those who continue in sin, practice it, and for whom it’s a habitual part of their life.  Every believer has at least some struggle with the flesh, and may sin repeatedly.   1 John 1:8 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But, the difference is that those who practice sin as a lifestyle don’t care that they are sinning.  Whereas Christians have the Holy Spirit inside us who is grieved by sin, and this drives us to repent, turn away from our sin, and confess them to the Lord.  The difference is our attitude toward it.  Does the sin bother our conscience, does it seem foreign to us, or are we right at home in it?  That’s the question.

Is of the Devil

John reveals the power behind those who practice sin in 1 John 3:8.  John is purposefully making a stark contrast between two kinds of people, believers and non-believers. The righteous act righteously and are identified with Jesus, while the lawless act un-righteously, and are identified with the devil.  The enemy, Satan, is the source of evil, and so when people are evil-doers, they are showing themselves to be of the devil. We see Jesus use similar language in John 8:44 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.  According to Jesus, some of the works of the devil are murder and lying. These two sins summarize the character of the devil and his goals. He works to see people destroyed and go to hell (so murdering them in the permanent sense), and he desires to deceive them into that destruction. 

for the devil has been sinning from the beginning

In saying, “because the devil has sinned from the beginning.” John reminds us of Satan’s fall, probably best recorded in Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14:12-15 or so.   Satan was not created evil, but was originally a beautiful angel, until the day that unrighteousness, injustice was found in him.  And he was cast out.  The enemy is characterized by sin, it’s his nature, and so he continues to stand in opposition to God. And so Jesus stands in opposition to him. 

The Son of God appeared for this purpose,

 “For this reason the Son of God appeared.” Jesus became incarnate for a reason.

to destroy the works of the devil.

So John describes the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation as “in order that he might destroy the works of the devil.” How is this accomplished?

Jesus came to take away sin.

As Christians, we seek righteousness. Those who live in unrepentant, continued sin show themselves to be children of the devil because they reflect the devil’s unrighteous nature. It is by their sinful actions that they prove themselves to be sons of the devil.  The one who has Christ dwelling within him does not continue to sin because Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. Those satanic works of sin and iniquity no longer have no place in the Born Again believer, because we are regenerated by the Spirit.  In a real sense, the work of the devil in a believer’s inward man is being destroyed from the inside out, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His Work of sanctification. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, and that guarantees our sanctification, and guarantees that those who continue to follow the enemy will just get worse and worse. 

Before we were saved, we were under the influence of evil, and acted in rebellion against God, just like the enemy does, and just like the servants of the enemy do. In fact, we “were dead in [our] transgressions and sins, in which [we] used to live when [we] followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” as it says in Ephesians 2:1–2. The works of the devil in our lives caused us to be “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” Ephesians 2:3. It is only through the love, mercy, and grace of God that we were rescued from the works of the devil.  Ephesians 4-5 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),. Through sin, the enemy has power over those who have not come to faith in Jesus, but Jesus came to break that power, and to keep on breaking it in our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to conform us to the image of Jesus.  Our part is to allow this process of sanctification to continually work in us, to make us bear our Heavenly Family Resemblance more and more.  John says this a different way in 1st John 3:5-6 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who remains in Him sins continually; no one who sins continually has seen Him or knows Him.  Our commitment to Christ, and our relationship with Him will be reflected in how we live our life. 

Jesus came to give life, and defeat sin’s power—death.

  John 10:10 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.  Abundant life is spiritually abundant. When we rely on Jesus, we do not need to worry about material needs.  God will supply what we need.  He is our provider (see Matthew 6:25–33).  Abundant life is also eternal life. Jesus has defeated death.  1 Cor 15:54-57 54 But when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have victory in Jesus, and because of His finished work of salvation on the cross, we don’t have to fear death. 

Jesus came to take away the suffering caused by sin.

Morally, the devil entices people to sin, making evil seem appealing so that people choose evil over obedience to God.  James 1:14 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it has run its course, brings forth death.  Physically, the devil can inflict disease, and he seeks to use physical trials to cause people to blame God for their ills.  We should pray for the sick.  That’s why James encourages us in James 5:14-15 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.  Notice the close link between the physical illness being healed and the spiritual sickness, sin, being forgiven and removed. 

The enemy also attacks our mind by deceit.  1 Tim 4:1-2 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, So the enemy seduces people into believing lies and teaching false doctrines, warping their minds, so that they become insensitive to the call of God back to Him. The enemy casts doubt and keeps unbelievers intellectually blinded to spiritual truth and the gospel (see 2 Cor 4:3-4).   The enemy arranges distractions and promotes confusion that cause people to act hastily, irrationally, and foolishly. Spiritually, he takes every opportunity to snatch away the Word of God sown in a person’s heart.  We see this illustrated in Matthew 13:19 9 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown with seed beside the road.  The hardness of their hearts causes the word not to penetrate and speak to them. 

Jesus came to destroy the enemy personally

The servants of the enemy seem to know that Jesus came to destroy them.  In the synagogue in Capernaum, the spirits of a demon-possessed man cried out in Mark 1:24 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, What business do you have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are: the Holy One of God!” So, the demons knew that Jesus’ business was to ultimately destroy them, even though the time for their actual destruction wasn’t yet fulfilled. 

Jesus has come to destroy Satan’s work in introducing sin to the world, and take away his power to influence.   This “taking away” involves more than forgiveness of individual sins. Satan, who has continued to sin from the beginning, continues to be the tempter of mankind. His goal is clearly to get all people to sin along with him. Jesus’ purpose in coming is to stop the cycle, to free men from Satan’s power and influence, and to remove sin from their lives. By doing this, Jesus destroys Satan’s work.

Jesus came to save people, not just from the fires of hell and eternal damnation, but from being sons of the devil, under the power of sin each day of their mortal lives, and transform them into sons of the Kingdom, who will one day be transformed, and brought into glory where sin will forever be removed.  Who’s son are you?  Who’s son do you want to be?

Seven Steps to Living A Satisfied Life
February 12th, 2023

Psalms 37:1-40

Pastor John Brint

The service video will appear below as soon as it is available.